David Birrell

Call 2006


Photo of David Birrell


David is a gifted and experienced criminal advocate.  Highly sought-after, he has a busy practice encompassing:

  • Fraud and money laundering
  • Drugs (conspiracy, supply, importation and production)
  • Homicide
  • Sexual offences
  • Serious violence and robbery

In recognition of his considerable expertise and experience, David is recognised by the Crown Prosecution Service as a Specialist Advocate for:

  • Fraud
  • Serious Crime
  • Proceeds of Crime
  • Rape and Sexual Assault

David is frequently instructed, both for the Crown and the Defence, in cases of rape and sexual assault.  He has extensive experience of cases involving historic allegations, including against children.  He is renowned for dealing with such cases in a sensitive and highly effective manner.

David is fluent, clear-headed and tenacious, particularly in his cross-examination of witnesses. He has been led on numerous occasions by Silks and senior juniors in long-running and paper-heavy trials.

A committed team player, he provides an exceptional level of service to his instructing solicitors. David makes himself available to advise and confer at all times, including evenings and weekends and responds to instructions and queries quickly, whether by telephone or email.

David is very good with his lay clients, many of whom have little or no experience of the criminal justice system.  He puts his clients at ease, ensuring that they are involved and informed at every stage of the process.

Criminal Cases

Operation Calcutta (ongoing) – Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.  Defending, alone.  Drugs gang operating in North Liverpool.

Operation Uzana (2017-2018) – Conspiracy to defraud.  Defending, led junior.  Care home fraud.  The case had over 100,000 pages of evidence and the trial lasted over 12 months.  David’s client was acquitted.  The case was reported nationally: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/barton-park-care-home-boss-david-barton-stole-millions-from-residents-kscjm73s9

R v MW (2018) – Attempted Rape.  Defending, alone.  David advanced an unusual ‘sleep sex’ defence on behalf of his client.  Not Guilty verdict.

R v Murray and others (2017) – Conspiracy to defraud.  Defending, alone.  ‘Crash for cash’ insurance fraud in Liverpool.

Operation Segma (2017) – Conspiracy to supply class A drugs, Possession of firearms.  Defending, alone.  Organised gang supplying multiple kilograms of cocaine in Manchester.

Operation Armadillo (2017) – Conspiracy to commit armed robbery.  Prosecuting, alone.  Organised gang targeting cash in transit (‘CIT’) vans in Greater Manchester.

R v Mills (2017) – POCA application in which the Crown alleged that the Defendant had hidden assets totalling £9 million abroad.  David persuaded the Court to find that the available assets were worth c£500,000 and that the Defendant’s family home was not an available asset.

Operation Ingham (2016) – Conspiracy to produce cannabis and money laundering.  Defending, alone.  David successfully advanced the ‘modern slavery’ defence on behalf of his client, a Vietnamese national, who was acquitted on all charges.

R v Spencer and others (2016) – Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs sourced from the ‘dark web’. David defended the main conspirator and secured a suspended sentence for his client. The case was reported in the press.

R v Richardson (2016) – s.18 Wounding with Intent. Defending. Not guilty verdict, secured after previous legal team dismissed the Defendant’s case as “hopeless”.

R v JF (2016) – Rape in gross breach of trust. Defending. Not guilty verdict.

R v Buzincu and Frincu (2016) – Conspiracy to supply cocaine and money laundering. Prosecuting, alone. Guilty verdicts.

R v Shaw (2016) – Historic child sexual abuse. Prosecuting. Guilty verdicts.

R v JM (2015) – Rape and s.18 GBH with intent. Defending. Not guilty verdict.

Operation Alamos (2014) – conspiracy to import class A drugs from abroad with over 15000 pages of evidence. David persuaded the Crown to offer no evidence against his client.

Operation Woburn (2014) – conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering. Drugs gang from Liverpool operating on the South Coast. David secured a suspended sentence of imprisonment for his client.

Operation Arrow (2014) – conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Drugs gang operating in Cumbria and Tyneside. David represented the second-named defendant on the indictment

Operation Burleigh (2014) – conspiracy to deal in to deal in counterfeit goods valued at £10 million. Case reported nationally: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273258/Bootleg-bling-gang-members-jailed-fake-designer-goods-racket-uncovered-Manchester.html

Operation Exmoor (2014) – conspiracy to steal and rob. Car ringing case with armed robbery of jewellers in central Manchester

Operation Handa (2013) – Conspiracy to defraud. A ‘boiler room’ fraud valued at £9 million.

R v Zygner and others (2013) – Murder. David represented the first-named Defendant on the Indictment in this 7 week trial. The case involved complicated issues of causation, toxicology and cell site analysis. The case was reported nationally: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-22598766